Even after 21 years, "Star Trek" still has the right stuff for TV. In its new edition, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the space-adventure show thoroughly phasered its competition Wednesday night in overnight local ratings from the A. C. Nielsen Co. The two-hour debut of the new "Star Trek" garnered a 21.3 rating for KCOP-TV (Channel 13). The show's nearest competitor--KABC (Channel 7), with its lineup of four comedies--managed a 15.3. KNBC (Channel 4) rated a 10.9 and KCBS brought in an 8.7. (One rating point in the Los Angeles market equals 46,527 homes.)
By noon Thursday, the tally of callers was 16-14 in support of actor Ed Flanders' unusual gesture of defiance on Wednesday night's "St. Elsewhere" episode. NBC operators in Burbank received 30 calls about Flanders' character, the earnest Dr. Donald Westphall, dropping his pants at the end of Wednesday's episode as a gesture against the hospital's conservative new chief, Dr. John Gideon (Ronny Cox). The amount of exposed flesh was unexpected not only by viewers, but by NBC staffers and TV critics.